CEDAR RAPIDS — Another game, another Top-10 foe for the Cedar Rapids Prairie Hawks.
After losses to No. 2 Muscatine and No. 6 Iowa City High, Prairie clamped down on ninth-ranked and previously unbeaten Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 51-44, in a Class 5A Mississippi Valley Conference tilt Tuesday night at Prairie High School.
“I thought our kids played outstanding defense,” Prairie Coach Steve Doser said. “I thought it really was the key to our offense. It was one of the best halves of defense I’ve seen in 10, 12 years for us.”
With leading scorer Courteney McCrary sitting on the bench with two early fouls, Prairie held Kennedy to just four first-half field goals. The Hawks offense responded in kind with a 14-2 run on the strength of a three-point field goal by freshman Olivia Usher and two more by senior guard Alisa Weiland, the second of which extended the Hawks’ lead to 22-7 midway through the second quarter.
“When one great player goes out, you just got to step in and fill in the spots,” said Weiland, who finished with 10 points. “We all did a great job of that.”
McCrary returned with 11 second-half points, and led all scorers with 15. Sophomore Stephanie Botkin led Kennedy (5-1, 4-1 MVC) with nine points as the Cougars clawed back in the second half.
After trailing by as many as 19 in the third quarter, a 20-point Kennedy surge in the fourth quarter cut the Prairie lead to 48-44 with 30 seconds remaining, but three McCrary free throws iced it for Prairie (6-2, 4-1 MVC).
Up next for Hawks is a Friday trip to Dubuque Hempstead, while Kennedy hosts Cedar Rapids Washington.